I encourage you to watch this music video, “Bitch Bad” by Lupe Fiasco, and think about the meaning of “bitch” (and similar words) in society today. Like those other “four-letter words,” we throw it around so often that it ceases to have any real meaning or shock value and becomes mainly used as a placeholder when another word would often be more accurate.
There are those who label themselves “bitch,” as something of a badge of honor. In some segments of society, to be a “bad bitch,” is a good thing. It shows toughness and a “don’t mess with me” attitude. Women use it to empower themselves, but not necessarily each other, as, conversely, they use “bitch” to talk down about other women whose actions they do not approve of.
“Slut” is used the same way. I know girls who joke around and call each other “sluts” and “skanks” for the fun of it, but when they talk about other girls they do not like, they use “slut” in a more derogatory way. I could discuss the concept of “slut-shaming,” but that’s an entire blog post in itself.
They’re “just words.” That part is true. But words hurt, words heal, and words influence. In Lupe Fiasco’s song, he talks about how “bitch” is perceived differently by young boys and young girls; how young girls aspire to become “bad bitches,” in order to attract the attention of young men, who may in fact want a woman who respects herself.
In a post I wrote a few weeks ago, I said that musicians have a great power to influence. There may not be much profound meaning in modern music (and that is a shame), but I think the message of this particular song is well worth listening to and thinking about.